The first presidential debate between incumbent Donald Trump and his challenger, Joe Biden, left moderator Chris Wallace in meltdown mode — and it looks like he still hasn’t gotten over it.
According to The Hill, Wallace said in an interview Sunday that he was “pissed off” at the president’s family for failing to wear masks at the late September event, which came just days before Trump announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
An “element of individual choice”
Wallace had complained just after the debate that Trump ruined his well-crafted moderation plans, ostensibly by engaging in a fiery back-and-forth with Biden in what the Fox News host later called “a terrible missed opportunity,” according to The New York Times. Wallace also compared the president’s behavior to stepping on a “beautiful delicious cake,” as The Hill reported separately.
Speaking with The Washington Post‘s Geoff Edgers this week, Wallace made clear that he’s still holding a grudge over how the debate went down. Multiple outlets reported that members of the president’s family went without face coverings at the event, a move that Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes later defended.
“We believe in masks, but we also believe in some element of individual choice,” Cortes told Fox News at the time, according to Axios.
“A uniquely vulnerable position”
But after Trump and his wife, Melania, came down with the coronavirus just days later, the criticism continued to mount — and now, more than a month later, Wallace has joined the chorus.
“After I had the luxury to think about it, I was pissed off,” the Fox News host said in his interview Sunday, according to The Hill. “That’s a technical phrase. I mean, did they think that the rules that applied to everybody else didn’t apply to them?”
Wallace said that he was focused on his job and thus “not fully conscious of the fact they weren’t wearing masks” during the debate. His feelings hardened, the Fox host said, when news broke of the president’s diagnosis.
“I was upset when it turned out I’d been on the stage in a uniquely vulnerable position, and we found out 48 hours after the fact that the president had tested positive for the coronavirus,” Wallace lamented Sunday, according to The Hill.
“A total joke”
And as far as Wallace is concerned — well, President Trump made his opinions clear long ago.
Chris Wallace was a total JOKE. Protected Joe all night long. He’s no Mike!!! https://t.co/0mRHAVAUda
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020